Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

It's a hair-raising drama for Ulster's Curly McLain

Belfast man Barry McGonagle gives new meaning to the saying suffering for his art.

The part-time actor, who is also a fraud deterrent officer with Halifax Bank, spent a week going through the torturous process of having his hair curled every day for his latest role.

Barry was playing Curly McLain in the Ulster Operatic Company's production of Oklahoma, famed for songs such as Surrey With the Fringe on Top, at Belfast's Stranmillis College.

In order to get into character, the amateur entertainer sat in curlers for more than an hour every day to look the part - a process which proved quite amusing for some passers-by.

"It has been very embarrassing actually," he explained. "Unfortunately for me when I get my hair done it is around peak traffic. The salon I go to, Shear Bliss, sits on the corner of Ormeau Road and Ravenhill. Each day I get this head full of pink curlers which I have to leave in for an hour.

" It must be a funny sight, seeing this guy with pink curlers in his hair."

But donning pink curlers is not the only thing people will recognise Barry for.

The amateur entertainer is perhaps best known for his role as the 'Rhinestone Cowboy' in the Halifax Bank's TV ad campaign.

The commercial was filmed almost two years ago, but Barry still gets recognised by people in the street.

"Yeah it's funny," he said. "A lot of people do come up to you because they recognise you from the ad.

" I also think it's funny at the moment because the rhinestone cowboy ad campaign has just been re-launched and I am on stage at the same time playing a cowboy."

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